her food his wine

Cooking for a wine fanatic

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Something fishy’s going on….

“We need to eat more fish” is a phrase that I regularly hear from my other half. We live pretty close to the coast in East Anglia so it’s a crime that we don’t however access to good quality fish is limited. Or that’s what I thought….

Following an early morning trip to Maldon at the weekend I made a diversion on the way home to the Little Fish Shop in Kelvedon. I’d been there once before however the selection was limited so I never went back. If i’d put two and two together I should have realised that visiting a good fishmonger in the afternoon equals an empty display. Arriving at 10am I pretty much had the pick of their catch and came away with some amazingly fresh mackerel, lemon sole and scallops.

So how to do justice to my bounty?

I love mackerel any way it comes. When it is super fresh you can’t beat it raw however that isn’t something you see very often.  Jason Atherton’s Mackerel tartare with avocado puree absolutely hit the spot. It was meant to be served with pickled mooli however I couldn’t find one and don’t think it was detrimental to the overall dish.

We drank the Greywacke SB with it and I can happily say that I was briefly transported back to that summer moment (see previous post).


The scallops needed to be good as the last time I cooked them probably five years ago, they were such a miss that Mark hasn’t been able to face them since. A classic combination is with cauliflower however as that was my previous failed combo I went for peas instead – Chris Horridge’s Scallops with pea puree and cumin foam. Wow and scallopgate is thankfully a long distant memory.

We drank a 2004 J Boillot Puligny Montrachet which started a little muted but developed some lovely pineapple flavour.


Finally the lemon sole. I was a bit cooked out by the time i’d got to it so went for what I thought was a simple option. Sole Meunier should have been a piece of cake however my extremely well cared for circulon frying pan decided that it was not going to give up that damned fish – what should have been an evenly brown and crisp skin remained on the bottom of the pan. The other fish was cooked in an old Sainsbury’s frying pan that had been relegated to the garage and while it stuck a bit, at least gave me one good looking finished dish. If anyone knows of a truly non-stick frying pan please let me know. There’s no photo of this one as frankly it looked terrible, but thankfully tasted wonderful.

We drank a 2004 Saint-Aubin premier cru from Jean-Pierre Ponnavoy.

Mackerel tartare and avocado puree (Jason Atherton from Gourmet food for a fiver)

Serves 4 as a starter

6 mackerel fillets skin on

25g shallots, peeled and finely diced

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1 dill sprig, finely chopped

2 tbsp capers, finely chopped

45g creme fraiche

2 tsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

sea salt and black pepper


1 avocado

juice of 1/4 lime

  1. Rinse the mackerel fillets in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper, Sprinkle both sides generously with S & P and place in a dish. Cover and refrigerate for 1.5 hours.  
  2. Rinse the fillets to remove the salt, pat dry and check for small bones and remove. Remove the skin and cut into 5mm dice.
  3. Put the diced mackerel into a bowl with the shallots, lemon zest, dill, capers, creme fraiche and olive oil. Mix gently and season. Cover and chill.
  4. Halve, stone and peel the avocado then roughly chop the flesh. Blend with the lime to a smooth puree and season. Cover and chill.
  5. When ready to serve, spoon the mackerel tartare into the centre of the plates. Top with a quenelle of avocado puree and top with a sprig of dill. Drizzle with olive oil.